The cinema and television arts major enlisted the services of more than a dozen Elon University friends and collaborators to help produce a 30-second film that captures the emotions of the movie-going experience for the 2016 Coca-Cola and Regal Film Program.
Eric Hernandez ’16 and his production crew, which has strong Elon University ties, began their work on July 28 long before the tourists and crowds usually descend on the L.A. LIVE sports and entertainment district.
At 2 a.m., the group occupied – with permission – Regal LA LIVE Stadium 14, the downtown Los Angeles venue that holds the distinction as the first 4DX theater in the United States. (4DX? Think tilting seats and in-theater wind, mist and fog.)
The early morning start was necessary to complete an ambitious one-day shoot for Hernandez’s entry in the 2016 Coca-Cola and Regal Film Program, a competition for up-and-coming filmmakers. The cinema and television arts major is one of three contest finalists who received $15,000 to turn his script entry into a 30-second film. Full contest details are available in this previous E-net release.
During the 15-hour, two-location production day, Producer Bia Jurema ’15 and Hernandez enlisted the help of a 20-plus person cast and crew – many of whom were either Elon alumni, students or faculty and staff members. For a closer look at the production crew in action, visit this School of Communications Flickr photo album.
“I thought shooting went very well,” said Hernandez, now working in post-production to meet the contest’s first submission deadline. “We spent a lot of time planning out each shot so, going into production, we knew what we needed to do to get what we wanted. There were many successes throughout production, first of which was making our day – completing production on time.”
While production included several different setups, the crew members worked efficiently while maintaining an upbeat attitude throughout the day. These were important factors in securing footage that showcases the products, Hernandez explained. “Everyone came to set prepared and I believe we captured professional quality content that both the clients and myself can be very happy with,” he said.
In addition to a hurried schedule, the cast and crew also filmed at a second location, CML Studios, a small sound stage in Glendale, Calif. Considering these logistics and the nature of filmmaking, some impediments on set were expected – and did come forward.
“With every production there are roadblocks,” Hernandez said. “Things don’t work out like you planned. You run out of time or sometimes the idea itself behind the shot is too big to accomplish with the amount of time and resources available.”
One of the creative challenges that Coke and Regal placed on the student filmmakers was limiting the number of actors in the commercials. To overcome this constraint, the crew incorporated several creative solutions to make the theater appear crowded despite having just a few actors on hand.
Hernandez explained that his familiarity with his crew allowed him to take in the big picture instead of worrying about minute details behind the scenes.
“Having a crew you can trust is a necessity,” he said. “A film crew is a family, a cohesive unit that only functions if every aspect, department and everyone is working together. Elon has such a strong community and having a crew who has worked together before was comforting and allowed me to focus on the story and action.”
While the post-production process provides its own challenges –condensing a day’s worth of filming into a half a minute is no small task – Hernandez and Jurema have enjoyed watching and organizing the footage from their July 28 shoot.
“It’s been exciting watching everything we worked for come together,” he said. “I love the editing process because you have to find creative solutions that fit the requirements yet still keep the story and the overall feeling that we intended intact.”
The Coca-Cola and Regal Film Program’s winner will be named in late September, with the winning film screening nationally in Regal theaters in the fall.
Cast and Crew
Bia Jurema ’15 – Producer, Editor
Eric Hernandez ’16 – Writer, Director
Kenneth Buchler (Elon in LA participant in 2014) – Director of Photography
Cappy Leonard ’15 – 1st Assistant Director
Cornell Mitchell ’12 – Gaffer
Jacob Glazier – 1st Assistant Camera
Emma Kendal-Kreiger ’14 – Art Director
Tess Korpola – Wardrobe
Edwin Cude – Key Grip
Monica Schupp – Makeup
Kara Johnson ’13 – Sound Mixer
Skyler Wahl ’15 – PA
Sam Jones ’15 – PA
Iris Sullivan ’17 – PA
Bryan Baker – Lead BTS
Julia Boyd ’15 – BTS 2nd Shooter
Jason McMerty ’00 – Faculty Adviser
Phillip Anderson ’12 – Composer
Aurora Albi-Mercier ’16 – Actor
Derek Scully ’14 – Actor
Shana Eva – Actor (Alicia)
Casandra Ceballos – Actor (Young Alicia)
Tony Sago – Actor (Tony)
Eric Mack Jr. – Actor (Concession’s Worker)